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CBRS Makes a Big Impact in Five Key Areas

CBRS ExteNet

Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS)

CBRS ExteNet

Now with the initial commercial deployments of Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) — a major wireless industry milestone are underway, the availability of the 3.5 GHz spectrum will have far-reaching implications across the wireless ecosystem. From applications to infrastructure, access to the previously under-utilized shared spectrum offers significant opportunities for many players within the wireless ecosystem.

Tormod Larsen, Chief Technology Officer at ExteNet Systems, shared his take on the key opportunities that the newly available spectrum will have across the wireless ecosystem, in an interview with Connected Real Estate Magazine.

“CBRS is set to be the foundation for innovative 4G and 5G networks, and the impact of this new shared spectrum is going to be revolutionary,” said Larsen. “CBRS is capable of serving many use cases from private LTE to supporting cable operators and serving as a neutral host for carriers (and venue owners) replacing how DAS was done in the past,” Larsen said.

According to Larsen, there are five areas where we can expect to see CBRS emerge in the wireless ecosystem.

Fixed Broadband in Rural America

The CBRS spectrum is being used for fixed wireless scenarios in rural locations that require broadband connectivity. CBRS can fulfill the dire need for access to connectivity for more than 20 million Americans. The lack of access to high-speed broadband is exacerbating the divide in prosperity across the U.S., by limiting access to education for school children and business operations in rural communities. CBRS will play a critical role in bridging this digital divide. The spectrum sharing capabilities of CBRS will create new opportunities for rural telecom operators to offer carrier-grade fixed wireless service that will improve broadband coverage in rural America.

The CBRS unlicensed spectrum will reduce the barriers to entry for new wireless internet service providers, rural local exchange carriers, and electric distributor cooperatives to deploy carrier-grade fixed wireless without having to invest in a licensed spectrum.

CBRS & Private LTE

Mining, warehousing, manufacturing, and utilities are industry verticals where CBRS via private LTE is poised to make significant inroads, according to Larsen. Distinct market segments for initial CBRS deployments include private LTE networks for secure, mission-critical IoT, voice/data applications that do not require any public access, and enterprises that need a combination of both private LTE and public access connectivity. The early adopters of private LTE using the CBRS spectrum will be sports stadiums, hotels, casinos, large public venues, warehouses, and industrial/manufacturing plants, Larsen said.

Cable Operators and MVNOs

As cable operators develop their mobile and wireless strategies, CBRS can help them enhance not only their existing offerings but also open doors to new ones. Cable operators are likely to build CBRS-based small cells and supply the backhaul, effectively accessing capacity and spectrum that is less expensive than many existing MVNO agreements. It’s also likely that operators will build out CBRS infrastructure in areas with high concentrations of subscribers. When customers aren’t in reach of that network, they roam to the MVNO network.

Existing MNOs Will Go After the Mid-band Spectrum

Existing MNOS Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint and, in the future, DISH are likely to go after the CBRS spectrum to accelerate the support of their devices at the auction announced by the FCC in June next year, said Larsen. CBRS may be a cost-effective spectrum compared with millimeter-wave and paves a more straightforward pathway to 5G connectivity for carriers, he added.

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Build Out of Neutral Host Networks

Traditional indoor cellular systems are too costly and complicated for enterprise deployment at smaller venues. CBRS will fill an existing void in the wireless access ecosystems providing a unique opportunity for smaller mid-market venues that require low-cost, multi-operator indoor systems. One of the most useful applications of CBRS is for solving the indoor cellular challenge. While mobile coverage in some indoor spaces is adequately served by coverage from nearby macro towers, many venues face inadequate mobile coverage and insufficient bandwidth, resulting in a poor user experience. The proliferation of higher frequency spectrum used for 5G and millimeter-wave bands will further reduce the reach of outdoor cell signals and exacerbate the already apparent problem of indoor penetration. For these reasons, deploying in-building wireless systems has become a costly task, and carriers have prioritized their indoor infrastructure spending on “high-value” locations like stadiums and large public venues, leaving many building owners and smaller size business with the burden of funding the indoor systems on their own.

Until now, mid-market venues such as hotels, hospitals, high-rise, and multi-tenant buildings have required the multi-operator capability that DAS offers. But now, with CBRS, deployment costs can be significantly reduced. The CBRS small cell network can serve multiple operators and is an effective alternative for each site. For this reason, CBRS can be a natural choice for neutral host network operators to solve the existing indoor challenges of cellular connectivity for service providers, venue owners, and enterprises.

“We are still in the preseason currently for CBRS. The regular season will soon begin and the bright lights will be on soon.” Larsen said.

The post CBRS Makes a Big Impact in Five Key Areas appeared first on Connected REM.

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